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Design issues are a leading cause of construction disputes

Construction disputes in North Carolina and around the country are most often rooted in changes made to a project after work has begun, according to an international consulting firm. HKA's latest CRUX Insight report, which was published on Nov. 29, is based on an analysis of 700 construction projects with combined budgets of about $1 trillion. The firm noticed that disagreements between contractors and their clients over design-related issues have now become as common as contract disputes.

The HKA report reveals that disputes often arise on projects where contractors assume design roles or rely heavily on subcontractors. The firm also discovered that contractors sometimes fail to learn from their mistakes and find themselves embroiled in the same kind of dispute again and again. HKA and other consulting firms say that adopting emerging technologies could help contractors to avoid these situations.

Scheduling software and 3D modeling programs can be especially useful to contractors as they allow them to plan more effectively and anticipate problems. Digital tools also provide contractors with detailed records, which can be very useful in court. Other areas that HKA recommends contractors focus on to lower their chances of becoming involved in disputes include risk mitigation, skills assessment, supply chain management, and delivery coordination.

Attorneys with experience in this area could help contractors and their clients to avoid time-consuming and costly contract dispute litigation by drafting documents that make the obligations and responsibilities of all of the parties involved clear. When these disputes do occur due to issues like delays, defects or missed payments, attorneys may argue vigorously to protect the financial interests of their clients. When alternative approaches like arbitration or mediation fail to produce a satisfactory resolution, attorneys could file lawsuits in the applicable court.

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